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Android Development Trends for 2016

By 2019, Android’s share of smartphone sales will reach 81.1%. Thanks to emerging markets, Google is surely winning the numbers game. But it’s Apple who grabs the dough. In the first quarter of 2016, the company will make over $ 50 billion on iPhones only! What factors will be shaping the Android app development trends in the near future? Will Android-first happen anytime soon? Read on to find out!

Factors behind the Android mobile app development trends

  • iOS-first is still trending. Google has gone the extra mile to battle fragmentation and attract more developers on board. Some vendors (including Dave Feldman – the very person who redesigned TechCrunch) even tried to launch an Android app first. However, it’s still easier to develop iOS apps and fix bugs on a limited set of devices. After all, 50% of iPhone holders adopted iOS 9 in four days after its release, while Marshmallow 6.0 is installed on 1% of smartphones. UX is still king. And yes, 85% of mobile device failures occur on Android. In case you’re a startup and crave for positive app reviews, it’s better to play on the safe side and choose Apple;
  • New markets. In 2016, Google Play will return to China – the largest mobile application market with over 200 independent stores and 601 million smartphones. What does it mean for third-party developers? Well, easy publishing, of course! If you want to distribute your mobile software across the country today, you need to partner with 10+ app stores. With Google Play, you can publish an application in mere hours. Android dominates the Asian market even now; the return of Google Play will surely drive more vendors to the market. It’s Asia where iOS-first can actually disappear – and sooner than we expect;
  • Growing demand for enterprise applications. By 2017, the demand for mobile apps will grow 5 times faster than development facilities. Enterprises finally see the benefits of going mobile and look for secure business applications. However, 87% of Android-powered devices fail basic security tests – mostly because they run on outdated software. Google has a bit of a situation (the company cannot force smartphone manufacturers to push out software updates).

Android Development Trends for 2016

Android software development trends for 2016

  • Improved security. In the near future users won’t need more applications than they already have. Instead, they expect the existing programs to facilitate their lives and protect data. In 2017, 50% of all online transactions will be made on mobile; you surely don’t want an app to leak your credit card security code, right? What prevents Android from becoming #1 is easy publishing (malicious software enters Google Play without much difficulty) and poor encryption standards (even on expensive devices like Galaxy S6). Google is well aware of the problem. In 2015, the company designed container security solutions for Android mobile software development (available for all operating systems starting from Lollipop). Now users can create a separate workspace for business apps and protect important data, so more enterprises are expected to adopt the OS throughout 2016;
  • Rapid development. Vendors struggle to keep up with the increasing demand for mobile software. IT tycoons (including IBM) plan to solve the problem with the help of “citizen developer” initiative, and that’s where the mobile app rapid development trends come from. The vendors enhance cloud-based development platforms with drag-and-drop options and take the low code approach to software engineering. Easy publishing makes Android a perfect choice for amateur programmers (not to mention the comprehensive libraries and multiple features available through Play Services);
  • Integration of payment services. By 2018, smartphone payments will surpass $ 118 billion worldwide. Google is no stranger to m-commerce (remember Google Wallet and Android Pay?). The latter was released in the USA last year and will hit the UK market in 2016. Google has partnered with CyberSource, Braintree and other top payment processors to enable the service integration with third-party apps. In 2016, Open Table, Groupon, Domino’s and other notable applications will be launched with the “Buy with Android Pay” button. Does your target audience still use PayPal?
  • Augmented reality + GPS. During the first quarter of 2016 (which is not over yet!), the global augmented and virtual reality investments have surpassed $ 1 billion. Augmented reality developers steadily abandon QR codes in favor of GPS. This year, we’ll have Pokémon GO, Google Smart Contact Lens and other AR apps released to the market. Going Android is an easy option for AR developers, since the operating system offers ready-to-use APIs, graphic frameworks and the Surface Holder function (that’s basically all you need to place virtual objects on top of a camera feed);
  • Wearables. For several years wearable apps were mostly built for the healthcare industry. In 2016, we may expect a shift towards wearable business solutions, since more enterprises plan to use smart gadgets to increase productivity. Google has clear software development guidelines and follows latest UX trends, so Android Wear will become a gold mine for vendors who focus on apps for wearables. The fact that Google provides its software to multiple smart gadget manufacturers makes the platform even more attractive for third-party developers (though fragmentation is still a challenge).

Android Development Trends for 2016

The sweet operating system is often criticized for insecurity, failure to maintain great user experience and poor interoperability. In reality, the things don’t look too bad.

Although most Android devices run on outdated software, there’s only a limited number of the OS versions for developers to adjust their apps to (with Lollipop and KitKat installed on 50% of all smartphones). Android matures. The OS has already conquered several large markets. Provided you find a reliable vendor, you can surely build a killer Android app (even if you go Android-first).

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